LAST week we dismantled the Falcons, 32 – 6. Our balanced Offensive attack allowed yards to flow naturally, from a well-spring of young talent. This week, a 49ers team who’s defense allowed the Lions to score 33 points, has to try to win at the Linc. Gonna be a long plane ride home.
A win here keeps the Eagles firmly in command of the NFC East. It also forces people to stop questioning last weeks win, and see the Eagles as a legitimate contender in the NFC. A loss, opens the door for a division rival to even up with us. Washington faces New York tonight, so somebody (Washington) has to come out of this with a win. If they tie, I’ll laugh myself sick.
The point of Four Things isn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics will practically guarantee our Eagles this win. CAUTION: I don’t have the faintest clue as to what a point spread is, and I know even less about how it works. I know football and that’s IT. If you use FT as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money, and will deserve it when you do.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the San Francisco 49ers:
1) Take Away the Edges: The 49ers like to run the ball by moving the entire offensive line to a side at once. When a line blocks like that, it forces a defense to flow with it. So there is no opposing momentum from defenders, because even when they make tackle, it’s going with the direction of the runner. It looks like power, but it isn’t.
It’s a Chinese finger trap. Not knowing why it works, is exactly what keeps it working. As a former offensive lineman, I’ll let you in on a secret: It has a simple solve. Our DE’s have to set a hard edge. Like a rock in a stream. With as much as the 49ers like to get their linemen running, that rock will “bunch” the linemen together, using them to trap their own RB.
See when the Lions DE’s give away the edges?
See the result? Like I said, simple solve. Also, as we take away the edges, that “bunching” will help limit inside running. Our DE’s have to think run first, except in obvious passing situations.
2) Next Level Tackling: Our LB’s have to not stick to blocks and make tackles. None of that wrestling for the ball, crap. At least not early in the game. That keeps resulting in broken tackles and extra yards. Just get the man down. Our Defensive Line will have its hands full keeping he LB’s clean. Don’t squander their work.
3) Get the Ball Downfield: QB Jalen Hurts didn’t really need to throw deep, last week. Our Offense is designed to get the ball out of Hurts hand quickly, so you can bet that the 49ers will be trying to limit our quick options. This week, if Hurts sees a one-on-one on the outside, the NFL needs to know that he will, and more importantly that he can, take advantage of a defense.
The Eagles need to use this game, to let NFL teams know they can’t stack the box against us. If we can’t prove that we can hurt a team from distance, all the nice little things we did last week, will slowly begin to evaporate. We can’t show the league that we’re one-dimensional. We can’t give future opponents something they can be confident about.
4) Screen Sanders: The 49ers allowed the Lions, THE LIONS, to complete 16 of 20 passes (80%) to their RB’s, for 111 yards and a score. I know that our coaching staff is in love with rookie RB Kenneth Gainswell, but RB Miles Sanders runs harder and breaks tackles better than Gainswell. So he’s more likely to exploit a quick, but undersized 49er LB corps.
If we do these Four Things,
Last week the 9ers had to stand on the gas pedal just to beat the Lions 41 – 33. (Nice score.) They had trouble dealing with the Lions RB’s and TE’s in the passing game, as 25 of 31 (80.6%) targets were caught. Any defense that can’t cover RB’s and TE’s, will get KILLED by the Eagles. Getting the ball to Sanders will open up the deep game.
Early on, QB Jimmy Garoppolo may look pretty good, because with our DE’s concerned with taking away the run, they likely won’t get as much heat on him. That’s fine. Once the Eagles establish a lead, the DE’s can pin their ears back. In the meantime, that emphasis on tackling will be huge.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 27 – 49ers 20
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how it went.